World Celebrates Obama's Inauguration

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Around the world, people celebrated the inauguration of Barack Obama, including one town in Japan named Obama.
CBS

In Kenya, the land of his father, they sang Barack Obama's name.

In Donegal, Ireland, they cheered in what claims to be the land of his distant cousin, and wrote new lyrics. "There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama!"

They rang the ceremonial bell in the town in Japan that bears his name. Yes, it's called Obama, Japan.

Never have so many felt so close, from so far away, CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports.

In Russia, one man said, "all of a sudden we have this smart guy running the United States."

The world seemed to stop to watch the man many see as their new leader too.

"Barack Obama really does seem to be the first American president who is also in many ways quite genuinely the world's president," said Constanze Stelzenmuller of the German Marshall Fund.

And he will inherit the world's problems. But Obama, perhaps more than any before him, is being carried along on a river of good will.


For a more in-depth look at how some of America's friends and foes reacted to the inauguration of Barack Obama, see the latest from CBS News staff around the globe in our World Watch blog.
"He seems to have an understanding of the way that all parts of the new world work, including in Africa, including in Asia," said Sir Jeremy Greenstock, a former British Ambassador to the United Nations. "It's not just a rebooting. I think a lot of us feel America needs new software and Barack Obama looks like he can provide new software."

Around the world, they listened most carefully when he spoke to them.

And in the village where his father was born, they may have cheered loudest of all.

Well, not everyone cheered. In Gaza and the West Bank they've seen American presidents come and go - and nothing change.

One resident of Ramallah said: "Writing a speech - it's so easy to write a speech. But it doesn't mean that what he is saying, and he's just a president and he's not going to do anything new in Palestine."

But elsewhere, he's already done something new.

In Paris, Maria Laloux said: "For me it's a miracle. Martin Luther Kind said, 'we shall overcome.' We did today."

At least for a day, he's done for the world what he's done for America - given it hope.

  • Mark Phillips, CBS News London correspondent
    Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips is CBS News senior foreign correspondent based in London.